Jodie Meeks, who starred at Kentucky before starting a long NBA career with multiple teams, has been suspended by the NBA for a violation of the league’s anti-drug program, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Meeks tested positive for performance-enhancing compounds ipamorelin and growth-hormone-releasing peptide-2.
Both Meeks and his lawyer strongly deny the results of the test and plan to appeal. However, during the appeal process, Meeks will be ineligible to play for the No. 8 seed Washington Wizards in the NBA Playoffs, which begin on Saturday.
“Because I have never used a drug of any kind I am absolutely heartbroken and perplexed with the news today,” Meeks told Wojnarowski. “Let me be clear: I have never taken anything whatsoever for a performance-enhancing reason. I respect the game of basketball too much.”
Meeks’ lawyer, Ben Levine of Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, called the NBA’s decision to suspend Meeks “premature” while also perhaps calling out the backward nature of the appeal process under the league’s collective bargaining agreement.
“We will appeal the suspension and vigorously defend Jodie’s rights,” he said. “Unfortunately, under the CBA, a player is guilty until proven innocent, and while Jodie’s appeal is pending he will be forced to sit out the playoffs.”
Meeks referenced his character and past drug test records in the NBA while maintaining his innocence.
“For the past nine years I have been humbled every day to have the opportunity to walk into an NBA arena and see the name Meeks on the back of an NBA jersey,” he said. “As part of my commitment to playing in the NBA for nine years, I have been subject to countless mandatory tests for any and all drugs including performance enhancing drugs. I have passed each and every drug test without issue for the last nine years. I look forward to exercising my rights under the collective bargaining agreement to bring this matter to arbitration and to clear my name in relation to this wrongful accusation.”
In his ninth season in the NBA, the 30-year-old Meeks has been a rotation player for the Wizards, complementing another former Kentucky guard, John Wall.
His suspension is without pay, and pending the appeal, will carry into next season. With each game costing him roughly $30,000 of docked pay, Meeks could lose about $750,000 over the course of his suspension.